Mental Health Advocacy | MHA

Mental Health Advocacy

The 2016 budget includes $53 million in new dollars for mental health:

$10m for receiving facilities

$3m for reinvestment grants

$4m for Community Action Teams (CAT) teams

$3m for Family Intensive Treatment (FIT) teams

$20m for block grants

$5m for substance abuse

$8m for forensics

Add $30 million for special projects related to mental health


SB 12

The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) are directed to modify licensure requirements through the rulemaking process if possible, to create an option for a single, consolidated license to provide both mental health and substance use disorder services. For modifications requiring statutory revisions, the agency and the department shall produce a plan for consolidation to the Legislature by November 1, 2016.

Additionally, by December 31, 2016, AHCA and DCF are directed to develop a plan to increase federal funding for behavioral health care; compile detailed documentation of the cost and reimbursements for Medicaid covered services provided to Medicaid eligible individuals by providers of behavioral health care services. If the report provides clear and convincing evidence that Medicaid reimbursements are less than the costs of providing services, the agency and the department shall request additional trust fund authority necessary to draw down Medicaid funds as a match for the documented general revenue expenditures supporting covered services delivered to eligible individuals.

To more closely align the Baker Act (mental illness) and Marchman Act (substance abuse), the bill modifies the legal procedures and timelines, as well as processes for assessment, evaluation, and provision of services.

The duties and responsibilities of DCF are revised for the contract and oversight of the managing entities[1]. The duties and responsibilities of the managing entities are also revised. The new duties include, among others, the requirement to conduct a community behavioral health care needs assessment every three years in the geographic area served by the managing entity; determine the optimal array of services to meet the needs identified in the needs assessment and develop strategies to divert people with mental illness or substance use disorder from the criminal justice system and collaborate with the Department of Juvenile Justice and the state court system to integrate behavioral health services with the child welfare system.

By September 1 of each year, beginning in 2017, each managing entity is required to develop and submit a plan to the department describing the strategies for enhancing services and addressing three to five priority needs in the service area. The plans must be developed with input from consumers and their families, local governments, local law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders.

The department is directed to update the crisis stabilization services utilization database. The database is renamed the acute care services utilization database. Managing entities are required to collect utilization data from all public receiving facilities situated within its geographical service area and all detoxification and addictions receiving facilities under contract with the managing entity.

The bill allows a crisis stabilization unit, a short-term residential treatment facility, or an integrated adult mental health crisis stabilization and addictions receiving facility that is collocated with a centralized receiving facility to be in a multi-story building and may be authorized on floors other than the ground floor.

The department is to develop certain forms to be used by law enforcement for use when a person is taken into custody under chapter 397. The department is also to develop a website and post standard forms to be used to file a petition for involuntary admission under the Marchman Act.

HB 769

  • Requires an admitting physician in a state forensic or civil facility to continue the administration of psychotropic medication previously prescribed in jail when a forensic client lacks the capacity to make an informed decision and, in the physician’s opinion, the abrupt cessation of medication could risk the health and safety of the client. This authority is limited to the time period required to obtain a court order for the medication.
  • Requires that a court hold a hearing within 30 days after receiving notification from a treatment facility that a defendant who was previously adjudicated incompetent or was previously adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity is now competent to proceed or no longer meets criteria for continued commitment.
  • Requires the defendant to be transported to the committing court’s jurisdiction for the hearing.
  • Permits a court to dismiss charges for specified nonviolent offenses for an individual whom the court has determined to be incompetent to proceed and who remains incompetent for 3 years after the original determination.
  • Changes the timeframe for mandatory dismissal of all charges for an individual whom the court has determined to be incompetent to proceed and who remains incompetent for 5 continuous, uninterrupted years since the court’s original determination of incompetency.


HB 977 would give psychiatric nurses the authority to prescribe controlled substances for mental disorders and the legislative intent finds the need of an additional psychiatry program at a Florida medical school.


HB 423 passed in the FINAL MINUTES of the 2016 Session.  The Senate and House at the last minute, agreed on compromise language, saving the bill. This bill has prescribing privileges for ARNPs and PAs with a large amount of restrictions.


HB 439 Mental Health Services in the Criminal Justice System – this authorizes the creation of treatment based courts and establishes a forensic state hospital diversion program.  While there was no funding allocated to this bill, it is a great first step.